In modern society, it may seem as if inspirational speeches have become less frequent. Although there are presidential campaigns every year, they generally repeat the same information each year and there are rarely memorable phrases that have the ability to influence multiple generations. With that being said, it is important to remember other speeches in history that have built the foundation for today’s modern era. Below is a list of 10 of histories most inspirational and influence speeches.
1. King George VI – Coronation Address
The coronation address occurred when King George VI took control of the throne in lieu of a national emergency. This speech was delivered over the most popular method of communication at the time, the radio, and he addressed all of Great Britain.
There are several reasons as to why this speech was influential not only to Great Britain but to others around the world, but the main reason was that it helped to prepare the citizens for the war against Germany. The speech helped to inspire thousands of British soldiers to fight diligently against Germany and to emerge victorious. Another reason as to why this speech is one of the most memorable addresses in the history of mankind is because King George VI had to overcome his fear of public speaking in order to address the public. If you recall the Academy Award-winning film The King’s Speech, it was based off of the words spoken by King George VI.
2. Sir Winston Churchill – “We Shall Fight Them on the Beaches”
Much like King George VI, Sir Winston Churchill was also born with a speech impediment and he had to overcome it in order to become the renowned man that is constantly recognized to this day. As one of the greatest leaders in all of military history, Sir Winston Churchill helped to inspire the British masses to continue on with the war, although they had encountered extremely dark and detrimental times. Not only was this one speech incredibly influential, but Sir Winston Churchill had been known for many speeches that he had given during his lifetime.
Delivered on June 4th, 1940 in the House of Commons, the “We shall fight them on the beaches” speech essentially explained how the war against the Nazis would not end without victory. Sir Winston Churchill explained that although Britain stood against Germany alone, they, as a nation, would strive to succeed.
3. John F. Kennedy – Inaugural Address
As one of the most quoted speeches in history, the John F. Kennedy inaugural address is known as one of the most well-written speeches to have ever been delivered by a president. “Ask not what your country can do for you” is one of the most famously quoted sections of the speech and it has only increased in popularity over the years. The main reason as to why John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address speech is so memorable is due to the ample amount of optimism that was portrayed through the speech. This type of optimism is relatively impossible to find in today’s modern era.
4. Alexander the Great – “The Envy of Those Who Return”
Due to lack of resources during 335 B.C., no living soul will ever be able to hear the famous speech that was delivered by Alexander the Great. Although there is no audio evidence of the speech, historical evidence suggests that it was one of the most memorable – if not the most memorable – speeches of that time. During the speech, Alexander the Great promised that “those who stay the envy of those who return” and these words were extremely powerful. The main reason as to why this speech was made was to encourage soldiers to continue on with the war, even though they may have had various reasons as to why they should have walked away.
5. Patrick Henry – “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”
Much like Alexander the Great’s speech, Patrick Henry’s “give me liberty or give me death” speech is mostly remembered via historical documents. The majority of high school students most likely learned about the words that were spoken by Patrick Henry. Although the words in the speech are extremely simple, they have an equally impactful meaning. In layman’s terms, Patrick Henry’s speech explained that he would rather be free and stand for something right and if that is not possible, he would rather die.
6. Jesus – Sermon on the Mount
As another speech that will never have any audio evidence and is only readable via historical documents, Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” speech has undoubtedly a perfectly timed speech that helps to pave plenty of pathways for thousands of years.
7. Martin Luther King – “I Have a Dream”
As one of the most famous speeches in the history of the United States, Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech” has influenced many generations of humans all over the world to treat each other with equality and to end racial segregation. Although the “dreams” spoken during this speech are not entirely resolved throughout the entire country, it undoubtedly helped to bring more groupings of people together over the decades.
8. Jonathan Edwards – Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
As one of the speeches that helped to make religion a more personal matter in the United States, this speech delivered by Jonathan Edwards was heard during the 18th century. Although this speech may not have been the most influential speech during the Great Awakening, it certainly was part of a large movement to help make religion a more acceptable practice throughout the country.
9. Elie Wiesel – Perils of Indifference
Indifference is an issue that is faced on a daily basis and although Elie Wiesel’s “Perils of indifference” speech may not be as renowned as Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, it is still as effective within different populations throughout the world. During the speech, Wiesel touched base on points about how indifference can be one of the most difficult obstacles for a human being to overcome. With that being said, he helped to inspire the masses to rise above indifference and to fight against evil.
10. Neil Armstrong – Moon Landing
Every individual across the planet is aware of “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” the famous words spoken by Neil Armstrong once he had landed on the moon. As the greatest achievement in the history of mankind at that time and as the first man to ever walk on the moon, these words have been repeated throughout history for many decades.
Neil Armstrong’s speech has not only been repeated amongst the general population, but it has also been a key point in many entertainment features such as movies and television shows. “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” helped to stimulate the rest of the world to practice human exploration in space and has helped us to discover galaxies that we otherwise would have been unaware of.
There are many speeches that have been given over the years and although each speech is important, there are very few that have been truly memorable and inspirational. There are various components that are implemented into a speech in order to make it inspirational and the above leaders and popular business figures undoubtedly understood how to grasp these components. There is always room for more inspirational speakers, so next time that you are asked to write a speech, take notes from various leaders such as John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King in order to create your own inspirational speech.